Mechanism of the growth of cholesterol monohydrate crystals in gallstones

Mashina E. V., Piskunova N. N., Askhabov A. M., Makeev B. A.

Zapiski RMO (Proceedings of the Russian Mineralogical Society). 2015. V. 144. N 5. P. 112-119

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Language: Russian


Cholesterol monohydrate crystals occurring in the center of gallstones are the nuclei on which these stones are formed. Detail study of morphology of the growth surfaces of these crystals has been carried out by the atomic force microscopy. According to the AFM data on cholesterol crystal topography of the simple form {010}, the typical picture corresponds to mechanism of the layer growth initiated by spiral dislocations. Formation of these dislocations occurs when liquid and solid inclusions are captured at the beginning of growth. According to the AFM, the height of the smallest investigated steps on the surface of the crystals is about 38 angstroms. This detail suggests that faces of cholesterol monohydrate crystals are growing by adjoining the molecular complexes. On the base of this fact the quataron mechanism of cholesterol gallstones nucleation and growth is discussed.

Key words: gallstones, cholesterol, surface morphology, AFM.